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Port Huron Icehawks 2009-10 Season Review

May 6, 2010 - International Hockey League 2 (IHL 2) - Port Huron Icehawks News Release

PORT HURON, MI - The Port Huron Icehawks were eliminated from the 2010 Turner Cup Playoffs this week, ending their third season in the International Hockey League. The Icehawks have earned a playoff berth in each of their three seasons in the new IHL.

Port Huron fans had a lot to cheer for this season, as their Icehawks never dropped out of the top three spots in the standings, setting a franchise record with 47 wins in the process. The Icehawks nearly tripled their record for consecutive home wins when they rattled off 11 straight victories at McMorran Arena from November 15 until January 15. The Icehawks were the only IHL team to never lose in overtime this season, finishing with an overall record of 47-25-0-4, including a stellar mark of 29-9-0-0 at home.

Young, talented rookies were a huge part of Port Huron's success this year, with 2009-10 IHL Rookie of the Year Mickael Bedard leading the team in goals (35) and points (73), as well as tying for the league lead with a +34 plus-minus rating. Fellow rookies Mike Gershon, Brandon Naurato, Pete Rouleau, Cody Hamilton and Paul Cianfrini played huge roles for the team as well.

The Icehawks relied on steady goaltending from two of the league's best net minders, Larry Sterling and Adam Russo. Sterling enjoyed an eight-game win streak and a 14-game unbeaten in regulation streak from December 9 until February 3. Russo was the only Icehawks player to earn an AHL call-up, spending time with the Houston Aeros in early March. Russo would leave the Icehawks before the conclusion of the regular season to represent Italy in the upcoming World Championships, after turning away every shot he faced in international competition with Italy in February.

Sterling cemented his status as a fan-favorite December 12 when he shutout the Fort Wayne Komets for 59:29, but gave up the shutout accolades, fighting Komets goalie Tim Haun after Haun took a baseball-like swing at Derek Patrosso in the closing seconds. The third-year Icehawks goalie would later earn his first official shutout of the season in April when he blanked the Quad City Mallards 6-0.

Derek Patrosso had the most successful season of his career, setting a new career high with 70 points on 30 goals and 40 assists. Patrosso had six point streaks of three games or more, including an 11-game streak lasting nearly the entire month of March when he scored five goals and ten assists.

Fans enjoyed opportunities to meet Red Wings legends, super heroes, princesses, storm troopers and George "The Animal" Steele through promotions held by the Icehawks this season. The third-annual Star Wars Night doubled as Port Huron's first sell-out since the 2008 Turner Cup Finals.

In an online poll, fans voted Mickael Bedard receiving his IHL Rookie of the Year award as their favorite memory of the 2009-10 regular season, earning 39% of the vote, narrowly edging Larry Sterling's fight with Fort Wayne's Tim Haun at 37%. Patrosso's 11-game point streak was the favorite of 16% of voters.

As the regular season came to a close, a rematch of the 2008 Turner Cup Finals awaited the Icehawks in the form of a first-round matchup with the Fort Wayne Komets. Scheduling issues forced the teams into a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format, guaranteeing almost nightly road trips. Each team won their first home game, with the Icehawks earning an exciting victory 13 seconds into overtime in game two.

The Icehawks appeared to take control of the series, winning games three and four to take a 3-1 series lead. Larry Sterling, Port Huron's lone non-rookie goaltender after Adam Russo's departure for the World Championships, was injured midway through game four, changing the whole complexion of the series.

Rookie Raffaele D'Orso had just sixty minutes of professional experience when he was handed the reins for the remainder of the series. The Komets peppered the 21-year-old over the final three games, and their 4-0 game-seven shutout ended the Icehawks' season.

Head Coach and General Manager Stan Drulia resigned from his position following the end of the season. Drulia had been the Icehawks' only coach, and spent four years coaching in Port Huron overall, with his teams increasing their win totals and making the playoffs every year. Drulia's 161 wins are second all-time among Port Huron coaches, leaving him just seven wins behind Ted Garvin, who reached 168 victories in five seasons in the late 60s and early 70s with the Flags and Wings.

Drulia brought a winning culture to Port Huron, and as the Icehawks begin an exhaustive search, his replacement will have tough shoes to fill. As the offseason begins, confidence within the organization has never been stronger as the Icehawks transition to a new era of hockey in Port Huron.

Port Huron Icehawks IHL Awards, 2009-10 Season:

Week One: Mike Kinnie, Player of the Week

Week Two: Cory Stillman, Player of the Week

Week Five: Mickael Bedard, Rookie of the Week

Week Six: Adam Russo, Goaltender of the Week

Week Nine: Nick Lindberg, Player of the Week, Larry Sterling, Goaltender of the Week and Brandon Naurato, Rookie of the Week

Week Ten: Mickael Bedard, Player of the Week and Mike Gershon, Rookie of the Week

Week Eleven: Mickael Bedard, Player of the Week

Week Twelve: Mike Gershon, Rookie of the Week

Week Fifteen: Larry Sterling, Goaltender of the Week

Week Sixteen: Mickael Bedard, Player of the Week

Week Nineteen: Brandon Naurato, Rookie of the Week

Week Twenty-one: Nick Lindberg, Player of the Week, Mickael Bedard, Rookie of the Week

Week Twenty-five: Mike Kinnie, Player of the Week, Larry Sterling, Goaltender of the Week, Mickael Bedard, Rookie of the Week

Week Twenty-seven: Raffaele D'Orso, Rookie of the Week

October: Mike Kinnie, Player of the Month

Larry Sterling, Goaltender of the Month

December: Mickael Bedard, Rookie of the Month

Larry Sterling, Goaltender of the Month

January: Mickael Bedard, Rookie of the Month

April: Mickael Bedard, Rookie of the Month

Larry Sterling, Goaltender of the Month

IHL All-Rookie Team: Mickael Bedard

IHL First-Team All Stars: Daniel Tetrault

2009-10 IHL Rookie of the Year: Mickael Bedard

2009-10 IHL Executive of the Year: Frank Kinney

2010-11 season ticket packages are available now, and include more benefits than ever. Packages start at just $371 and a 5% discount is available if paid in full by October 1. For more information, call Keri at the Icehawks office at 810-966-3800.

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